The unrestricted international flow of genetic resources from international genebank collections is the source of perhaps one of the greatest impacts of international agricultural research. This paper examines the distribution across countries in Latin America of benefits generated from bean genetic resources held by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The genealogies of commercial bean cultivars released since 1976, containing materials from the collection, are analysed to calculate for each country the source of the genetic resources used. All countries in the region are shown to be heavily dependent on imported genetic resources for their commercial cultivars. From the available information on the economic impact of these improved bean varieties, the share of economic productivity benefits associated with imported germplasm by country of origin is calculated. The benefits received by each country from improved bean germplasm are compared with the contribution of that country's germplasm to other countries. Some of the patterns in the flow and use of genetic resources are analysed. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.